Attention United States sports fans: Do not blink.
Because once again we have a major sport decided by referee controversy.
Only this time, it’s during the World Cup tournament.
And thanks to the U.S.A.’s performance in the Confederations Cup last year, it’s a sport that might be picking up a little bit of steam in our country’s television food chain.
Because let’s face it, while many kids play soccer in our home country, it’s still our version of football (not their’s) that’s closest to our hearts.
We do have thousands and thousands of fans rooting for the home country in the World Cup. So, that’s something.
But now, perhaps we can collectively relate to the game even more. Instead of a furious rally by the USA and its fans, we instead had a controversy on our hands, all due to a bad call.
Scratch that, a REALLY bad call.
But, by the final whistle, the end result: a 2-2 draw between the United States and Slovenia. This was all after a valiant and heroic effort in the second half (after the Americans fell behind 2-0).
With the draw, the US manages a second point in Group C – meaning that there is still a chance the Americans will move on and advance to be amongst the final 16 teams.
Still, they may need some help. Answers to that question will become clear after the match between England and Algeria is complete.
Still, this match went from hopeless to hopeful in a matter of minutes. Frustration and agony took over as the Americans had a likely game-winning goal swiped away from them.
In the waning minutes, a free kick by Landon Donovan was followed up by Maurice Edu, and kicked into the net for what would have been a 3-2 lead.
But the referee called it off.
Upon further review, the general consensus is that not only was there no foul on the United States, but Michael Bradley was also held on the play. In addition, Maurice Edu was not offsides, either.
Plain and simple, this was (and should have been) a go-ahead goal.
Instead, we now can mesh the World Cup right with the recent sports atrocities on our home soil. That includes Tim Donaghy and the controversies from the NBA referees. Pepper in Major League Baseball, frequent bad calls and the necessary addition of instant replay, too.
It seems that in recent years, sports is in a world of ruin, thanks to half-assed officiating. There’s human error, and there’s what we have seen in the sports world recently.
Seriously, is it too much to ask for a clean and evenly called game on the biggest of stages?
One wouldn’t think so.
So if your personality is anything like mine, you’re brewing up a mixture of elation (that the U.S.A. fought back) and anger, because of how the game took a nasty turn towards controversy in the 86th minute.
The call can’t be reversed and instant replay can’t magically be created in this year’s World Cup. Therefore, we as Americans need to use our energy towards supporting our soccer team more than ever.
Hopefully, in the end, justice will be served. We just need the United States to find a way to advance. That’s the only cure to this frustrating outcome.
If not, it’s possible that the growing popularity of American soccer could take a hit going forward.
Unfortunately, it’ll be nearly a week (Wednesday June 23rd, to be exact) that we’ll have to stew over the result. Fortunately, the same goes for the hometown boys though, too. Hopefully, that will light their fire just a little bit heading into their match with Algeria.
Until then, maybe – just maybe – we can now relate to World Cup soccer just a little bit more.